What is Uncopyrighted Music?

What is uncopyrighted music

What is Uncopyrighted Music? Music licensing isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Even though the process is well-intended and meant to safeguard an artist’s rights from being ripped off, dealing with the intricacies of legal negotiations often comes at a heavy price. Moreover, if there’s anything the history of copyright scandals has taught us (with Taylor Swift’s most recent battle being an example), it’s to steer clear of hefty violation fees and multi-million-dollar lawsuits.

However, without proper licensing rights, you may just be forcing a puzzle piece to fit where it doesn’t belong, jeopardizing the quality of your work in the process. What if we were to tell you that there was a way to circumvent this rather complicated process and land just the right song for your YouTube video or podcast? Yes, we’re hinting at the possibility of using uncopyrighted music. If you’re wondering, “what is uncopyrighted music, and how can I access it?” you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything and more you need to know about it.

Uncopyrighted Music: Your Doorway to the World of Untapped Resources

Uncopyrighted music is exactly what the name suggests– music that isn’t owned by a creator, producer, or author. Even though it’s true that there are fewer legal hoops to jump through, copyright-free music isn’t easy to come by. This is mainly because all art is actively linked to a source or a person responsible for its production, and only they determine whether and how you can use it.

Since creators invest days and months into the production of their work, it’s only sensible for them to protect it from infringement. However, here’s the deal. The more they experiment with sound and produce great work, the greater your chances of finding uncopyrighted music.

How Do You Seal the Deal?

Here comes the million-dollar question, what do you do once you have your copyright-free song? The process, much to your relief, is quite straightforward. All you have to do is:

  1. Contact the creator
  2. Make a one-time purchase
  3. Get written permission to use the song

Viola! You’re ready to add those last touches to your project.

Again, the main dilemma most creators face isn’t the process of getting permission from the original owner but rather the quest to find music that is truly copyright-free.

Uncopyrighted Music Is Not Always Copyright-Free

The two key aspects of any song are sound recording and the lyrics. Hence, when a song is being advertised as uncopyrighted, you may want to dig a little deeper before falling for it. Most of the time, the sound recording may be copyright-free but the lyrics might not be.

This means you will be required to follow licensing protocols even if the song is partially owned (if the author owns the rights to the lyrics or sound recording, for example).

Verify Before You Amplify!

Did you know that any original work’s copyright is active for an author’s lifetime? And that it remains so even 70 years after that? This does put one in a pickle, especially when it comes to finding recent music. Only once a song’s copyrights have lapsed can it be added to the “public domain” where people can access it freely. Regardless, it’s better to verify that there are no active copyrights on your selected song.

For example, music on YouTube is often advertised as uncopyrighted. However, it’s important to understand that the original author can still claim copyrights on the song at any given point, especially if you haven’t obtained written permission from them. In many cases, the original owners may also claim a part of your revenue from the project. All in all, as long as you know everything you need to look out for, you’ll be able to step in the right direction and use legitimate copyright-free music for an eternity.

Where Can You Find Uncopyrighted Music?

Music with no copyrights

Now that you have an answer to the question “what is uncopyrighted music?” it’s time to get to the bottom of it all. Finding uncopyrighted music is probably one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to content creation, and a common strategy people often resort to is using the public domain.

Since public domain music is accessible to everyone, there’s a great chance that another creator may already have used your selected song in their work. Fortunately, that’s not always the case. Some songs tend to be obscure, even if they were once copyrighted. This means that they are less likely to be used in contemporary films and videos.

Other common sources of finding copyright-free music are Creative Commons and YouTube’s Audio Library. The latter allows you to access a multitude of copyright- and royalty-free music, and the best part about using it is that your projects don’t necessarily have to be uploaded on YouTube. The only requirement you must fulfill is adding credits to the author of the music you’ve incorporated.

On the other hand, Creative Commons is a directory of music that works similarly to YouTube’s Audio Library. Here, you can expand your horizons and search for music that isn’t only copyright-free but also free from use to cost. Any song you pick from this particular resource must be attributed to the original owner. You may also want to consider any limitations or restrictions the creator/owner may have placed on how to use the song.

Give Your Work the Meaning It Deserves

There’s absolutely nothing that adds zeal and zest to your work the way music does. However, the bottom line is, you must ensure that your selected song is truly copyright-free. Again, here are some important questions to consider before you think about incorporating music into your work.

Is uncopyrighted music always 100% copyright-free? No.

Does using it carry any implications? Yes.

In the end, song copyrights must never be taken lightly. Not only do they put your hard work in jeopardy but they also go a long way in damaging your reputation as a content creator.

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